Big Apple? Why
Why is NYC called "the Big Apple"?
Good question, seeing how the queue is getting
bigger and bigger, we have to post this hoping someone will answer
it for us.
Ok, thanks to everyone that e-mailed us on this
one. I can not post all the answers, but I e-mailed back
everyone that sent in one that answered the question. But Bili
came up with this answer for it:
Well at first I had a few theories, you
like maybe Apples are like "alll American" and so the biggest city
is the "big Apple"
Then there was the idea that apples are red and if you go to NY you
get beaten to a bloody pulp there by making you red like an apple.
Nah that's crazy!
So after probing the New York society for Red Delisious Apples (NYRDA)
here's what the told me....
In the early years of the nineteenth century,when when people were
stupid, refugees from war-torn Europe began arriving in New York in
great numbers.The wanted out of that shit-hole that was/is Europe.
Many were remnants of the crumbling French aristocracy, forced to
seek refuge abroad from the dread "Monsieur Guillotine."French
people are never happy, I swear. Arriving here without funds or
friends, many of these were forced to survive, as one contemporary
put it, "by their wits or worse." Oh No! This is America, heaven for
bid you freakin french loosers do anything for yourselves!
One of these, arriving in late 1803 or early 1804, was Mlle. Evelyn
Claudine de Saint-Ivremond. Daughter of a noted courtier, wit, and
littirateur, and herself a favorite of Marie Antoinette, Evelyn was
by all accounts remarkably attractive: beautiful, vivacious, and
well-educated, and she was soon a society favorite.(she was a
freaking hottie OK?!) For reasons never disclosed, however, a
planned marriage the following year to John Hamilton, son of the
late Alexander Hamilton, was called off at the last minute.(she must
have found out he had a small dong or soemthing) Soon after, with
support from several highly placed admirers, she established a salon
-- in fact, it appears to have been an elegantly furnished bordello
-- in a substantial house that still stands at 142 Bond Street, then
one of the city's most exclusive residential districts.
Evelyn's establishment quickly won, and for several decades
maintained, a formidable reputation as the most entertaining and
discreet of the city's many "temples of love," a place not only for
lovemaking & getting-it-on, but also for elegant dinners,
high-stakes gambling, and witty conversation.(snobs) The girls, many
of them fresh arrivals from Paris or London, were noted for their
beauty and bearing. More than a few of them, apparently, were
actually able to secure wealthy husbands from among the
When New Yorkers insisted on anglicizing her name to "Eve," Evelyn
apparently found the biblical reference highly amusing, and for her
part would refer to the temptresses in her employ as "my
irresistable apples." The young men-about-town soon got into the
habit of referring to their amorous adventures as "having a taste of
Eve's Apples." This knowing phrase established the speaker as one of
the "in" crowd, and at the same time made it clear he had no need to
visit one of the coarser establishments that crowded nearby Mercer
Street, for instance. The enigmatic reference in Philip Hone's
famous diary to "Ida, sweet as apple cider" (October 4, 1838) has
been described as an oblique reference to a visit to what had by
then become a notorious but cherished civic institution.
The rest, as they say, is etymological history.
The sexual connotation of the word "apple" was well known in New
York and throughout the country until around World War I. The
Gentleman's Directory of New York City,(aka Cool Guys in the Big
City know how to party) a privately published (1870) guide to the
town's "houses of assignation," confidently asserted that "in
freshness, sweetness, beauty, and firmness to the touch, New York's
apples are superior to any in the New World or indeed the Old."
Meanwhile, various "apple" catch-phrases -- "the Apple Tree," "the
Real Apple," etc. -- were used as synonyms for New York City itself,
which boasted (if that is the term) more houses of ill repute per
capita than any other major U.S. municipality.
William Jennings Bryan, though hardly the first to denounce New York
as a sink of iniquity, appears to have been the first to use the
"apple" epithet in public discourse, branding the city, in a widely
reprinted 1892 campaign speech, as "the foulest Rotten Apple on the
Tree of decadent Federalism."(translation:"this place blows!") The
double-entendre -- i.e., as a reference to both political and sexual
corruption -- would have been well understood by voters of the time.
The term "Big Apple" or "The Apple" had already passed into general
use as a sobriquet for New York City by 1907, when one guidebook
included the comment, "Some may think the Apple is losing some of
its sap." Interestingly, the phrase had also become pretty well
"sanitized" in the process, thanks to a vigorous campaign mounted
just after the turn of the century by the Apple Marketing Board, a
trade group based in upstate Cortland, New York. Alarmed by sharply
declining sales, the Association launched what some believe to be
the earliest example of what would now be called a "product
positioning campaign."yeah we know .... propaganda!
By devising and energetically promoting such slogans as "An apple a
day keeps the Doctor away" and "as American as apple pie!" the A.M.B.
was able to successfully "rehabilitate" the apple as a popular
comestible, free of unsavory associations. It is believed that the
group also distributed apples to the poor for sale on the city's
streets during the Great Depression (1930-38). No convincing
documentary evidence has been produced to support this, however.
Needless to say, Bili had a lot to say about the
matter. I would like to thank everyone for their answers on
Click here to send this page to a friend!
Back to main page